Saturday, 31 January 2015

Naomi's Lego Star Wars themed cake.

My baby brother turned 8 this week. As is customary, I was tasked with making him a cake. This year he opted for a Lego Star Wars cake (last year it was Spider-Man).

I trawled the web looking for inspiration & realised that I had to get my hands on some Star Wars mini figures to adorn my sponge cake. I looked on eBay and Amazon & I was shocked at the price (there were cheaper ones available to ship from China - they would have arrived mid Feb). Luckily I had a brainwave & contacted a friend who works for Lego & they were able to find a collection of characters for me. 

My bother requested a plain Victoria sponge with strawberry jam & buttercream. This was coated in navy buttercream instead of sugar paste. Although sugar paste often has a cleaner finish. In my opinion, buttercream is tastier!

I used a novelty silicone ice cube mild to shape red, blue, yellow and green sugar paste into Lego bricks & decorated the cake with these and the Star Wars figures.

It might not have been the most creative cake ever but it was a hit with the birthday boy and his party guests! 

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Packed lunch - Salad

As most people are, I am feeling a bit gross after consuming my body weight in Christmas pudding. As Christmas is well and truly over, it's time to put down the trifle and eat some salad!

I have been a bit stuck for ideas of tasty & interesting meals to take to work keep me going on a 12 hour shift & to stop me snacking on the abundance of biscuits, chocolates and toast. Here is one of my favourite.

Roasted butternut squash & feta salad

The butternut squash was roasted in calorie controlled spray with a small amount of salt & pepper as well as some paprika.

Once cooked, allow to cool thoroughly and place on leaves. I have used baby spinach only here although I think rocket would also work well.

Crumble in (reduced fat) feta cheese and chopped walnuts & drizzle with balsamic vinegar.


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Post - Holidays Salad

Here's a photo of the delicious salad I made just as I was emerging from the New Year holidays and getting prepared to go back to work.  I wanted to make something that made use of what was left over from Christmas and here's what I had:

The only thing I bought was the mushrooms , which were pretty much the only vegetable for sale in the local shop on the 2nd January.

I sliced the mushrooms and cooked them in a bit of oil and a pinch of Marigold bouillon powder, adding the red pepper later. The pear was perfectly ripe - I don't think I've ever had Blue Shropshire cheese before ; it tasted amazing with the pear. The nuts were just cracked open and scattered on top - couldn't be bothered to chop them up, so they look a bit odd! I did use a bit of  honey and mustard dressing from a bottle.
Cute but impractical 
I really enjoyed eating this salad because the cheese made it more substantial and the warm mushrooms made it quite comforting but there was also a bit of fruit and veg in there to make it seem a step away from the alcohol and chocolate diet I've been following!

I'd like to  link up with No Croutons Required, hosted by Lisa's Kitchen  and Tinned Tomatoes .

Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Only Vegetarian at the Party

Close up of  my Red Pepper and Lentil Jalousie 

I was at a New Year's Eve party last night, at my brother's and, due to sickness and domestic crisis, found myself the only veggie. My brother had made two pots of chilli; one meat, one veggie , and so it fell to me to eat plenty of the veggie one! He'd asked me to make and bring a pie that he's had many times at my house. It's a real crowd- pleaser , even for quite hardened meat-eaters. I got it from the Christmas 2005 edition of BBC GF Vegetarian magazine, and the page is all torn and stained, as so many favourite recipes are. Here's the recipe:

Red pepper & lentil jalousie

Serves 6 – according to the recipe but if you are serving as part of a buffet, you can feed double that.
1  tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
140g/5ozred lentils
300ml/1/2pt vegetable stock
1 tbsp sundried tomato paste
1/2 tsp yeast extract
1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
85g/3oz fresh breadcrumbs
15g pack coriander, chopped
5OOg pack puff pastry, thawed if frozen
1 medium egg, beaten

1 Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion
and celery for 3 – 4 mins until softened. Stir in the
lentils, vegetable stock, sundried tomato paste and
yeast extract, then bring to the boll. Cover and
simmer over a very low heat for 15-20 mins until
nearly all the liquid has been absorbed. Allow to
cool slightly. Stir in the red pepper, breadcrumbs,
coriander and seasoning.
2 Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Cut the
pastry in half and roll out one piece on a lightly
floured surface to an 18cm x 32cm/7in x12 1/2in
rectangle. Place it on a lightly oiled baking sheet
and spoon the red lentil mixture down the centre,
leaving a 2.5cm/1 in border-Brush the pastry edges
with beaten egg.
3 Roll out the remaining pastry to make a 20cm
x 34cm/8in x 13'/2in rectangle. Fold lightly in half
lengthways and cut slits through the folded edge,
2.5cm/1 in apart, but leaving a 2.5cm/1 In border.
Unfold the pastry and place over the red lentil
mixture to cover. Press together the edges of the
pastry to seal. Knock up the edges using a knife,
held horizontally, to mark flaky layers (this helps to
seal it and make it rise evenly). Flute the edges of
the pastry and brush with the beaten egg. Bake for30-35 mins until golden. 

New Year , New Blog

Happy New Year.

For several years I've been blogging about crafts and entering challenges, and now I've discovered there's a whole world of food blogs and challenges too, and I want to see if I like it.

I like eating , I like reading about and talking about food and sometimes I like cooking it. I never like washing up.  I have been veggie for 30 years.

I hope to be joined here by my daughter, who is a fabulous baker (amongst other things). I'm aware that at the moment she's probably the only person reading this - it takes time to build up a blog - but I shall pretend we have a huge following and try to make this blog interesting and attractive!